How dangerous is pink and pretty anyway? Being a princess is just make-believe, isn’t it? Does playing Cinderella shield little girls from early sexualization—or prime them for it?
The other day I was prompted by family birthdays to think about the way little girls change so quickly into independent young women, and about some of the influences that form their characters along the way. (We don’t talk very much about character formation any more… it’s all about personality development… a blog for another day.)
I was reminded of this article by Peggy Orenstein from the New York Times, What’s wrong with Cinderella? Plenty, it seems.
It is several years since I have been shopping in those toy and clothing departments, so I was initially surprised by the escalation of both merchandising and feeling. It really is too bad. The young women in Disney stories seemed to be morphing into strong, independent, successful people. But in the end, they all cave in to the happily- ever- after- ending.
Do my friendly readers actually look at the articles I link? I hope so! When I want to point you towards another person’s work, no matter how important I think it is, it feels wrong to quote more than just a teaser. So here is a sneak peak at what is wrong with Cinderella. I hope you will read the rest (click the underlined link above)
There are no studies proving that playing princess directly damages girls’ self-esteem or dampens other aspirations. On the other hand, there is evidence that young women who hold the most conventionally feminine beliefs — who avoid conflict and think they should be perpetually nice and pretty — are more likely to be depressed than others and less likely to use contraception. What’s more, the 23 percent decline in girls’ participation in sports and other vigorous activity between middle and high school has been linked to their sense that athletics is unfeminine. And in a survey released last October by Girls Inc., school-age girls overwhelmingly reported a paralyzing pressure to be “perfect”: not only to get straight A’sand be the student-body president, editor of the newspaper and captain of the swim team but also to be “kind and caring,” “please everyone, be very thin and dress right.” Give those girls a pumpkin and a glass slipper and they’d be in business.
And then there’s Barbie! Sigh! Attacking Barbie and Disney Princesses in the same blog the day after expressing doubts about the Catholic Church… I hope I am not risking the friendship and loyalty of everyone who has ever known me or linked to this blog!
But I must be brave… and besides these Barbie transformations are just too good not to share! http://beautifuldecay.com/2012/01/27/barbie-as-famous-works-of-art/